Monday, 30 April 2012

Two more Olympians laid up

411 making what is believed to be its first all day service appearance on route 20 on 25 July last year

411 and 416 have been withdrawn today following the recent entry into service of 347 and 348. They join 402, 407 and 414 in storage. Further examples are expected to be retired when 349-353 enter service with just four Trents (403/5/8/10), four Lothians (412/3/5/7) and ex West Yorkshire 365 remaining active.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

National Service

The original National produced between 1972 and 1980 did not enter the Blackpool fleet until 1986 and lasted just five years. Here is ex Crosville 548 on the Promenade trying to drum up interest in a Morecambe Bay bus/boat excursion.
The Leyland National was a landmark design. Leyland had absorbed several chassis makers with a range of vehicles and attempted to replace them with a single integral design developed in a joint venture with the National Bus Company. Introduced in 1972, other chassis such as the Bristol RE and AEC Swift continued alongside for a few years and Blackpool was quite dismissive of the National, reviewing it as 'not suitable in many ways' when justifying the tender award for the 1973 single deckers to Leyland subsidiary AEC. The full results were:
  • Seddon RU - £10,845
  • AEC Swift with Marshall body - £11,038
  • Leyland National - £11,510.50
  • AEC Swift with Willowbrook body - £12,147
  • Metro Scania - £12,774.05
The attractive livery of the Nationals is shown to effect on 544 which is about to turn from Harrowside into Clifton Drive
Several demonstrators were tried with RRM148M in June 1975 - though with 55 Swifts in stock the need for single deckers was not apparent. The Mark 2 type launched in 1980 appeared in November 1980 in the former of demonstrator WRN413V while GCK430W followed in March/April 1981 - both in the Fishwick's fleet. Two Halton examples followed in 1983 EWM630Y in April and CKC929X in May. Finally in January 1984 Blackpool placed an order for four mark 2s.

They arrived between 29 June and 1 July 1984 and after a period of familiarisation, entered service on 7 July, though some may have appeared the previous day. As the previous single deckers had taken the series to 599, they restarted the single deck numbering back at 541-544 (A541-4PCW). They introduced the Gardner engine to the fleet with the turbocharged 6HLXCT. 
542 on the post deregulation 2A at Bispham in August 1987. The front end was now devoid of the Corporation crest. 
Leyland National production was reaching the end. 541-544 had production numbers 7777-7780 and just 55 more followed - ironically most for municipal operators rather than the NBC which took the majority of production.
Unusually the second hand Nationals all arrived in overall grey primer. Here 545-547 (right to left) show off their Gardner badges
A further six were ordered for 1985 delivery, but the council cancelled the order due to the uncertainty of deregulation. The order was taken up by Southdown with two more and they went to their Brighton & Hove division which soon became a separate business. They became their C450-5OAP with several ending up on the Falkland Islands!

The Nationals carried an attractive version of the single deck livery enhanced by a green skirt. 541 was the first to lose this gaining an all-over advert for Agri Electrics in December 1985.
541 was a surprising choice for this Agri Electrics all-over advert.
Instead of purchasing new buses, Blackpool entered the second hand market. Crosville Motor Services was implementing a programme of engine changes in its large mark 1 National fleet installing Gardner engines from withdrawn Seddon RUs in place of the unconventional fixed head 510 unit. Blackpool borrowed one (GMB387T) in mid November 1985 for evaluation and Crosville agreed to withdrawn and convert four buses for Blackpool. 
26 May 1986 and 545 poses on Midgeland Road turning circle which shows more than little evidence of oil leaks!
February 8 1986 saw LMA413T (to be 548) arrive from Crosville followed by CFM345/7S and KMA399T (545-547) on 17th. 548 was quickly repainted emerging on the 22nd with 547 following. Entry into service was delayed as the Union insisted on moquette seating for the driver, though the passengers had to retain the NBC vinyl! 

547 was first noted in use on 10th March, 548 by the 16th, 546 on the 23rd and 545 in early April. Like the National 2s they were used across the single deck network. Deregulation saw single deckers focus on the 2A (Poulton to Bispham), 3 (Mereside-Bispham), 4 (Wordsworth Avenue to Town Centre), 15 (Staining to Bispham), 23-25 (Hospital to South Shore/Mereside) and 26 (South Pier to Mereside). The Nationals in particular also saw use on tendered services 165 (Preston - Lytham), 180/2 (Fleetwood-Poulton-Preston), 185 (Blackpool-Kirkham-Preston) and the Kirkham Roamer. Later the 173 Blackpool-Lytham-Kirkham was added to the list.
The new fleet livery was somewhat plainer on the Nationals than the first scheme. The first of the Glasgow buses - their LN1 and Blackpool's 156 waits at the evening and Sunday terminus of route 25 on 9 January 1988.
The remaining AEC Swifts, while not particularly long in the tooth, were challenging to maintain as they were long obsolete. Strathclyde Buses had purchased 20 mark 1 Nationals in 1979 but they were now largely redundant and 11 remained, at least some by this time in store (Flickr Strathclyde LN1). Blackpool bought all 11 with three arriving in November (GGE156/66/74T), with GGE162/5T at least in stock by the end of the month and GGE161/4/7/70T here by 6th December leaving GGE158/72T outstanding and these arrived in January 1988. As City Pacers had taken over the single deck series, BTS simply adopted the registration number as the fleet number for its new arrivals.
National 167 awaits preparation for service, albeit with Blackpool blinds, in the bus yard on 13 December 1987

165 receives mechanical attention alongside mk 2 542 in the bus compound on 28 November

162 sits alongside its new yard mates Atlanteans 311 and 317 and Swift 575 - the latter replaced by the Nationals
By this time 541 had been outshopped in the new single deck livery and 156 was the first of the Strathclyde's to leave the paint shop in the same scheme. 174 and 164 then followed. During December at one stage 161, 162, 166 and 170 filled the paint shop together while 165 was in the Body Shop. 156 was the first to enter service in mid December followed by 164/74 later in the month. Repaints continued with 165/7 outshopped in mid January, 172 towards the end of the month and finally 158 in early February.
161 on its first day in service, fully equipped for a duty on service 4, save for the Glasgow blind! It returned to depot with some minor faults in the early afternoon as seen here.
The buses were drip fed into service with 166/70 certainly used in January but the rest debuted in February. April saw 541-8 renumbered to 141-8 to group the Nationals together - indeed with the end of the Swifts in February and premature disposal of the Lancets in March the 19 Nationals now formed the entire single deck fleet. 148 did not make an appearance for some time as in March it was badly damaged when hit by a car and its rebuilt took until September to be completed when it returned to use in the new livery. 

Routine repaints followed with 142 the last National 2 painted in July and 145 the last mark 1 in August. This meant that the entire fleet was now in the new livery, except for the special Routemaster and Handybus liveries.
Single deck generations. April 1990 and Nationals 156 and 165 sandwich brand new Deltas 104 and 106 while Mark 2 144 looks on.

The decision to buy new Optare Deltas for 1990 spelled the beginning of the end of the mark 1 Nationals which were something of a stop gap. The first batch of eight saw 145-148 laid up after service on 11 March. With the Deltas rostered for the 23-25 and 53, the 15 surviving Nationals were rostered for seven all day duties on the 2A, 15, 180/2 plus the more recent tendered services 190-192 to Great Eccleston and Kirkham. They also provided back up to the Deltas (especially when private hires took them away from their service route) and minibus services. 145/6/8 passed to Norfolks of Nayland and 147 to A1 Service, Ardrossan.
145 and 146 sit withdrawn in the bus yard with still active 166 in April 1990
A second batch of Deltas arrived over the winter 1990/1 and these replaced the Strathclyde Nationals with 162, 164/6/7 and 172 withdrawn in December and the rest lasting until February. All eleven were purchased by Southend Transport. 

With just 141-144 left, it was something of a surprise that these were destined for a short life, replaced by Deltas 118-120/2 and withdrawn on 6 May 1991, leaving for Caldaire North East (United and Tees & District) later in the month bringing the Leyland National era to an end after just seven years.

145/6/8, along with Atlanteans 305-309, revitalised the fleet of long established Norfolk's of Nayland operating services into Colchester. In April 1991 Nofolks were absorbed by the growing Hedingham Omnibus fleet and gained the red and cream livery (flickr link). The three Nationals passed to Northern Bus of Dinnington in May 1996. Two years later Mainline - the former South Yorkshire PTE fleet took over Northern and the Nationals, though all were withdrawn soon after. 146 saw further use with the Appelby group mainly in Hull registered LJI8027 and by 2004 it was to be found in Lowestoft where it remained until at least 2010 and may still be there - it is on SORN until March 2013. It is not thought that 145/8 saw further use.
Former 148 and 146 with Atlantean 309 in the attractive two tone green and cream Norfolks livery in June 1991 when in the ownership of Hedingham Omnibuses.

147 spent its next life with a member of the A1 Services Consortium in Ardrossan but in January 1995 joined the Stagecoach Group with the A1 business. Now part of Western Buses, it was written off in an accident in April 2000. (Flickr 147 with A1)

The Scottish buses moved to Southend Transport as their 716-726 in numerical order. Some had short lives with 164 used for spares in 1992; 165 transferred to sister British Bus fleet London & Country in 1993 (flickr); 166 used for spares from January 1995 (flickr); 158 accident damaged in October 1996 and sold for scrap (Flickr 158 damaged). 172 and 174 were also sent for scrap in 1995/6. (Flickr 156 with Southend)

The survivors lasted until 1997 with the final bus (ex 167) withdrawn in June. 167 went straight for scrap but some had new lives. 156 went to the London &; Country group fleets which became part of Arriva with the absorption of British Bus. It was used as a driver trainer and on withdrawal passed via a dealer to JSM Driver Training in Edmonton in January 1999 before being preserved by Michael Roulston back in Scotland from November 2001. Sadly it is now understood to have been sold for scrap from the Beith Transport Museum.

161 returned to the North West running with Border of Burnley from November 1997 before being scrapped in June 1999. 162 ran with McKindless of Wishaw from July 1997 and was scrapped in 2000. 165 ran with London & Country until February 1998 and later ran as part of dealer Wealden of Kent's hire fleet until accident damage saw it sent for scrap later in the year.

Former 170 was the exception as during 1992 it was refurbished with a DAF engine (flickr). It entered service as 745 (PJI3745) in December 1992 and outlasted the main National fleet until withdrawal in 1998. It then ran with Supreme of Hadleigh but was last licensed in 2002 (Flickr with Supreme).

The National 2s fitted in well with the United and Tees fleets but two reached a premature end with accident damage, 141 going for scrap in July 1994 and 144 written off in October 1995. 142/3 survived into the Arriva era - interesting Blackpool's Nationals ran with each of the three big groups, Stagecoach (147), First (145/6/8) and Arriva (142/3, 156/65). They were withdrawn in December 1999 but it is believed 142 saw a brief period of use with sister firm Northumbria. Flickr link 541 Tees.

143 was exported to Ireland on 12 July 2000 joining the fleet of O's Coaches of Hospital, Co Limerick (flickr link). After withdrawal it passed to the Kells Museum in November 2008 where it remains in store.
542 in Redcar in March 2004 after withdrawal by Cleveland Police and prior to its adoption by Redcar Youth Improvement Project

142 was purchased by Cleveland Police (flickr link) as a mobile display unit in May 2000. By 2003 it was in store in Redcar and was taken on by the Redcar Youth Improvement Programme in March 2004. Laid up with a fault in 2009 it was donated to LTT and returned to Blackpool for eventual restoration on 21 January 2010. Flickr link 542 at Weeton

Friday, 27 April 2012

The Metro Years: 2004

April 2004 and new Solo 252 shows off the red and yellow Line 5 livery with Olympian 372 bring up the rear in Line 11 colours
The improved financial performance of the network justified increased investment for 2003/4. May 2003 had seen the arrival of 9 new Dennis Tridents but a second order for 12 Optare Solos was placed in the autumn to arrive before the end of the financial year. This meant that the 2004 order was reduced to just six Tridents. The Solos were split between Line 5 (249-257) in red and yellow and Line 3 (258-260) and were the first ordered with the new Cummins ISB engine option and the first 9.5m examples for Blackpool.

Delta 126 passes newly repainted Excel 215 on Line 7 in Lytham in April 2004 during the relatively brief period when both types could be seen together
An elaborate cascade plan was put in place. Nine of the new 33 seat Solos arrived in February/March in red and yellow for Line 5 as 249-257 and they entered service on 21/22 March 2004. As a result 40 seat Excels 210-218 were placed into temporary store but repaints commenced immediately with 211/5 launching Excel operation onto Line 7 with 210/2-4/6/7 following progressively by August. 218 also received pool livery in June as spare for Excels on the 7 and Tridents on the 14.

Deltas 119, 122 and 126 lined up in Line 11 livery on Starr Gate car park, used as a temporary parking area during the bus depot open day in September 2004. The car park is now the site of the new tram depot
The Excels released the 46 seat Line 7 Deltas with 118 moving onto Line 6 in March to make 10 branded buses for that service while between April and June 119, 125-129 received Line 11 colours. Here they replaced Olympians 368-373/5 which received black and yellow pool livery in May and June and - with the new Tridents allowed the withdrawal of Atlanteans 443-5, 471-475.
Olympian 369 freshly outshopped in pool livery shortly before its dark front appearance was livened by red and yellow strips around the destination display to make the bus more visible at night. The more modern vehicles in pool livery benefited from more powerful interior lighting
Metroriders 587-590 were also withdrawn in May/June joining 584-586 in store. The Line 3 Solos and a new Solo purchased by Lancashire County Council for the Kirkham Roamer (285) replaced these. All Metroriders would be reinstated later in the year.
Fresh out of the box,  newly delivered Trident 319 awaits branding and entry into service in May
The six Tridents arrived in May and 319 - in black/yellow entered service first, followed by the squadron launch of 322-327 onto Line 11 on 29 May. 320/1 were left blank with plans to fill them with two more pool liveried buses eventually dropped.

Also leaving the fleet, but unexpectedly, was Delta 131 which was badly damaged by an engine fire at St. Annes Square on 18 May. Also taken out of use was Metrorider 511 with severe accident damage sustained on Normoss Avenue on 8 October - it would be almost two years before it returned to use.

November saw Atlanteans 350/1 laid up and the year ended with the arrival of three Optare Excels bought from Go North East which would become 219 to 221.

Services Changes
As already noted 21 March saw the conversion of Line 5 from Excel to Solo while 19 April saw the first Excels enter service on Line 7 progressively replacing Deltas. 3 May saw the 7 extended to Saltcotes Road, while the 11 was retimed to save one vehicle (now 21 buses) and the Sunday short workings on the 14 from Fleetwood to Blackpool were extended to Rigby Road.
The new era on Line 7 as Excel 211 shows off its new livery

27 September saw the 11 regain its 22nd bus with the daytime terminus in Lytham move from Saltcotes Road to Lytham Hospital, except for some peak journeys which still ran to the former terminus. October/November saw tendered services 158 and 167 renumbered 58 and 68 to reflect the main Stagecoach services on these corridors.

1 November saw route 7 diverted via Mythop Road on the way to Saltcotes Road but still serve Lytham Hospital on its way back. On 22nd November route 2 journeys to Thornton were extended to Cleveleys picking up the former 2A route which was now truncated to run to Poulton. Route 5 was withdrawn between Hospital and Staining but in the evenings and on Sundays buses continued the short distance from Halfway House to Blackpool Airport.
In the pink - rescued from storage, 585 shows its  pink and yellow scheme for the new Line 15 at Tesco
Staining was now served by new Line 15 developed in partnership with Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council and Tesco. It started at Tesco and ran via Mythop Road, Staining, Newton Drive, Hospital, Town Centre, Dickson Road, Warbreck Drive, Bispham, College, Norcross and Castle Gardens to Poulton. A half hourly service was provided over the full route during the day using four buses. Evening and Sunday journeys ran Tesco to Bispham until 2100 with three buses and after 2100 from Staining to Gynn using two buses. Stored Metroriders 584-587 were reactivated and painted into the new pink and yellow livery. 588-590 also returned to use in October/November.

2 December 2004 saw the introduction of experimental night bus services L81 to L83 under the "L8 bus" (late bus) brand. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning three Olympians would depart Corporation Street at 0030, 0130 and 0230 with the L81 running to Cleveleys over the 11 route; L82 running to Grange Park over the 6 route (but the opposite direction round the loop) then via Carelton, Castle Gardens, Poulton and Highcross Avenue to the Highcross pub; L83 followed the 2 via Whitegate Drive to Waterloo Hotel, St. Annes Road, Highfield Road, Ansdell Road, Daggers Hall Lane and Line 6 to Mereside. Buses stopped to drop off only and tickets were sold at specially installed at stop machines on Corporation Street.

Lilac was the new colour scheme for seasonal route 20 and 402 shows off the scheme to effect
Early repaints saw 406 lose Line 11 colours for Line 1 in January and sister 401 introduced the purple/yellow livery Line 20 livery in February - 402/3 joined it in June and July, while 405 received Line 1 orange in August and 404 followed in September, completing the repaints of the Olympians out of green and cream.

The Cadbury Blue scheme on Line 4 Solos is displayed by 266 which was partially painted out of Line 3 colours before the new Solos entered service
Line 4 repaints continued with 269 treated in January, while 265/6 were modified from Line 3 to Line 4 livery pending the arrival of 258-260. 272 completed the seven dedicated buses in December

Metrorider 596 was the first to receive the new pool livery  - the only repaint it received in its Blackpool career
March to July saw efforts focused on the move of buses between the 5, 7, 11 and pool livery, while minibus repaints resumed in October with 275/6, and 596 the first of the types to gain black/yellow pool livery. November saw 584-587 all lose Handybus colours for the vivid new pink  and yellow Line 15 colours. December saw Metroriders 501/2 receive Line 2 livery. 273 also gained pool livery and 274 was in progress at the end of the year, leaving just Metrorider 588 in the yellow based Handybus scheme - the black based scheme was last carried in service by 596.
Livery Breakdown

  • Line 1: 365-7, 404-410 (10)
  • Line 2: 501-510, 512-8 (17)
  • Line 3: 258-264 (7)
  • Line 4: 265-9, 271/2 (7)
  • Line 5: 249-257 (9)
  • Line 6: 108-110, 112-118 (10)
  • Line 7: 210-7 (8)
  • Line 11: 119, 122, 125-30/2/3, 322-7, 374, 376-79 (21)
  • Line 14: 301-16 (16)
  • Line 15: 584-7 (4)
  • Line 20: 401-3 (3)
  • Old Pool: 123/4, 589-595 (9).
  • New Pool: 218, 273-6, 317-9, 368-373, 375, 596  (16)

137 buses now carried Metro schemes with just one bus left in Handybus livery (588) and Deltas 101-7 and Atlanteans 352-364 the only examples left in green and cream.

April Gallery

Volvo 521 heads through the gloom for Grange Park on route 11

Looking somewhat alone, Solo 246 awaits departure for Knott End on Corporation St

Excel 210 heads away from the utilitarian bus shelter opposite Sands Venue

Solo 248 - the last in Line 5 turns out of Church Street onto Promenade 

Solo 295 leads sister 292 past Sands Venue

Sister Line 3 liveried Solo 259 on route 5

Also on route 17 is 243, one of the last batch of Solos acquired in 2009

Trident 313 displays the plain contravision which blights the view from this bus

Sister 331 leaves the Sands Venue stop for Fleetwood on route 14

Final Manx Tridents Arrive

353 arrived yesterday 26 April joining 352 which arrived a few days earlier. This completes the delivery of the 11 ex Bus Vannin Tridents, though only 343-348 are currently in use.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

347 Emerges

347 on service 1 at Bispham today
Manx Trident 347 has entered service today on service 1 with 348 joining its sister operating on the 7 and 11 later. Sister 353 has now been outshopped at Blackburn, completing the batch of 11.

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Metro Years: 2003

Metrorider 591 in Lytham Square on the extended Line 2 which replaced the St. Annes Roamer in January 2003
2003 was a year of evolution for the Metro network - particularly Line 2. 6 January saw a half hourly extension from South Pier to Lytham Square via the route of St. Annes Roamer 77 which was withdrawn. 16 buses were now required. At the same time Line 3 was extended from Cleveleys to Thornton during the day increasing PVR by one to seven. This replaced a withdrawn Stagecoach service. Excels took over Line 5 from Solos but with all nine required it was necessary for Solos to continue stand in. The Solos from the 5 replaced the Excels on the 4 which was re-routed to serve Claremont, helping relieve Line 3 in this area. The 5 no longer served the Maternity Unit at the Hospital with the Lifestyle Line diverted via there instead.

Seasonal route 20 resumed at Easter and was diverted via Marton Drive and Watson Road instead of Waterloo Road. 1 June 2003 saw the Lifestyle Line extended with a second round of Urban Bus Challenge funding the purchase of Solos 283/4 by Lancashire County Council. From Norcross buses continued via Thornton, Cleveleys Safeway Store, Amounderness Way, Broadwater, Fleetwood to Beach Road Cemetery. From Morrisons buses were extended to Manchester Square via Harrowside and Lytham Road. 277 finally entered service on the first day after a year in store initially carrying YG02FWH  but by the 4th had been reregistered PL03BPZ. 283/4 both entered service on the first full day Monday 2 June.
As a result of the L1, the 2A was re-routed away from Harrowside via Watson Road, St. Annes Road and St. Lukes Road - much to the dismay of residents and was soon re-routed back to its old route. 

24 May saw the 14 upgraded to full low floor operation with 16 branded Tridents and spare vehicles from the pool Tridents, Excels and the odd Solo to meet an advertised guarantee of low floor access. Summer service on route 1 saw a Tuesday market day extension to Fleetwood with the route serving St. Annes in the school summer holidays, but otherwise running between Pontins and Cleveleys. City Sightseeing service 21 continued with Metrobus 864 (A964SYF) added to the fleet for the summer holidays when a 15 minute service was provided.
Two brand new Tridents 315 on the right and 317 to the left in the new pool livery await entry into service in May alongside old pool liveried Delta and Metrorider and two Atlanteans
13 October saw the introduction of new service 88 on weekday evenings between Cleveleys, Thornton and Poulton every hour on behalf of Lancashire County Council - this was interworked with Line 2 - a rare example of branded buses operating 'off route'. On the same day the tendered 158 (Preston to Blackpool) was extended to Knott End every evening and the 2 hourly Sunday daytime service was doubled to hourly but continued to terminate at Blackpool. Metroriders replaced the single deckers previously used.
3 November saw the Lytham to Poulton workings on route 2 extended to Thornton to replace a withdrawn Stagecoach service increasing the route PVR to 17. From the same day a new off peak tendered service 10 started from Blackpool to Mereside via Lytham Road, New 10 TC-Tesco via Lytham Rd, Watson Rd, Hawes Side Lane, Highfield Hotel, Midgeland Rd, Cherry Tree Road and Clifton Road to replace the seasonal 20 on Watson Road.

Arrivals and Departures
11 new buses arrived in 2003 - 9 Tridents 310-318 arrived in May and were launched on 23rd May. 310/2-317 entered service the following day with 311/8 a few days later. 317/8 were in pool livery, 310-6 in Line 14 colours. New Solos 283/4 - owned by Lancashire County Council and in Lifestyle Line maroon/cream arrived as their contribution to the extended Lifestyle Line service.
Withdrawals saw Atlanteans 333/6 retired in February, 337/40 in April, 334/9/41, 442 in May and 343-349 in July - decimating the fleet somewhat. Stored Metrorider 584-587 returned to use in September to allow Line 1 to be converted to minibus operation to release buses for a six bus emergency contract following the fire at Devonshire Road Primary School. 584-6 returned to store in November when the 1 was withdrawn for the winter, but 587 remained due to the increased need to minibuses on Line 2. 584-6 then returned to use again in December due to the repaint programme for Line 4 Solos.

410 was the first bus to receive the orange and yellow livery adopted for Line 1

6 January 2003 saw 410 returned to use in an unbranded orange and yellow livery, mooted to be a new pool scheme but it was duly branded in April 2003 for Line 1, bring Metro identity to this summer service. The service number was shown as "Schools + 1" as the buses continued to run on school specials. 408 followed in April, 366 and 407 in May; 367 and 409 in June and 365 in August.

371 shows the Line 11 colours applied to the 6 1989 Olympians after their mid life refurbishment

The refurbishment of the East Lancs bodied Olympians continued with all joining 368 in Line 11 livery. 373 emerged in January, 372 in February and 370/1 in March with 369 completing the process in August. Optare Solo 271 was the first to receive Line 4 Cadbury blue in January, while Metrorider 517 and 518 joined the rest of the 1998 batch in Line 2 colours in February and March respectively, reflecting the increased requirement caused by the extension of the 2 to Lytham. Repaints of Line 4 Solos resumed with 267 in November and 268 in December while Solo 503 became the 16th bus in Line 2 colours in December.
  • Line 1: 365-7, 407-410 (7)
  • Line 2: 503-518 (16)
  • Line 3: 261-266 (6)
  • Line 4: 267, 268, 271 (3)
  • Line 6: 108-110, 112-117 (9)
  • Line 7: 118/9, 125-129 (7)
  • Line 11: 122, 130-3, 368-79, 401/6 (19)
  • Line 14: 301-16 (16)
  • Old Pool: 123/4, 501/2, 589-595 (11).
  • New Pool: 317/8 (2)
This made 96 buses in Metro livery - up from 70 at the start of the year. The former Green and Cream livery was now carried by 34 buses (Deltas 101-7, Atlanteans 350-364, 443-445, 471-475, Olympians 402-405), the black based Handybus livery by three Metroriders: 585-587, the yellow based Handybus livery by 210-218, 269, 272-276, 584 and 588.

Promenade Scenes

Plaxton Centro 529 swings out of Church Street onto the Promenade which is undergoing some remedial attention
Excel 210 on the 11 at the southbound stop outside Sands Venue
216 is also heading to Saltcotes Road on Line 7 and is turning into Adelaide Street is Trident 305 
Tower of London? Classic Bus North West RML887 poses on a test run outside Sands Venue -

Volvo 521 - seemingly one of London's Best Sights

Solo 241 turns onto the Promenade with a Heritage Tram Stop and distinctly un-heritage 'Festival House' in the background.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Split Personality

Trident 312 has returned to use today having had its front repainted into the new fleet livery while retaining Line 14 colours on the sides and rear. This unusual arrangement is temporarily until 312 received an allover advert. 
Sister bus 306 has returned to use following rear end accident repairs, still in Line 14 colours.

Talbot Square Remodelling

Solo 287 on the 15 chases sister 288 on the 3 into Clifton Street. To the left of 288 can be seen the work undertaken to widen the pavement here.

294 shows the narrow carriageway remaining now, currently allowing access from the Promenade only. 

The highest numbered Solo 297 swings into the access road for Market Street, the pavements either side were once part of the carriageway

Another view from Clifton Street as Volvo 521 arrives from Cleveleys on route 9

Meanwhile on the Promenade, 524 waits at the northbound Line 1 bus stop 

Excel 216 turns into Talbot Square from the Promenade